I found this quote on ‘folly’ in Bonhoeffer's Letters and Papers from Prison. I have often wondered why intelligent men and women adopt Christian beliefs that are a nonsense and so removed from the simple power of the gospel of the Kingdom. Many are well educated and articulate but unfortunately not in new covenant Christianity and the vicarious humanity of Jesus. Rather many are locked into sub-Christian thought forms that undo the achievements of the cross and leave these benighted persons in the pre-Christian mode of old covenant, old Adam and the law.
NEW CREATION LIGHT
What they have is not the kingdom of God but some branch of the kingdom of religion. It provides a degree of meaning and purpose but sadly not the meaning purpose, spirit and life that Jesus released into humanity at His resurrection; the light that is Christ in us – the power of regeneration and the new creation.
So why do intelligent and well educated Believers attach themselves to beliefs that are not just a variation of Christian practice but ‘another gospel’ as in a gospel that negates the gospel of Jesus, Paul and John. The short answer is brain washing. A longer answer it ‘socialisation’ as in the social construction of reality in which people build their own reality in terms of the ideas they have absorbed from their community, sect or cult. As a result they spend a large portion of their lives constructing fictions that act like portable walls to keep out ideas that could demolish the sense of meaning, identity and status that they think they have in the tissue of constricts they have created for themselves. Such tissue of belief are called ‘My Faith.’
It may be remembered that Bonhoeffer died for his beliefs; that he was a person who stood for the truth no matter what the cost and was not the kind of person to accommodate himself to nonsense for the sake of an identity with the herd. He writes,
“The fool can often be stubborn, but this must not mislead us into thinking he is independent. One feels somehow, especially in conversation with him, that it is impossible to talk to the man himself, to talk to him personally. Instead, one is confronted with a series of slogans, watchwords, and the like, which have acquired power over him. He is under a curse, he is blinded, his very humanity is being prostituted and exploited.”
Bonhoeffer paid for his commitment to truth with the loss of his body. But he became a companion of Jesus in his commitment to truth.
Contained in the bubble of his beliefs such a person is almost immune to the truth. Encounters with God, teaching that is wisdom and revelation and light from ‘truth tellers’ that is the result of a higher loyalty pass by this captive like sparrows flying out of a barn. The truth is deflected by the shields of habitual fictions.
The captive continues in his bubble of deception – aware that something of moment has occurred but at a loss of what it was. Why? As Bonhoeffer perceives, “It is impossible to talk to the man himself, to talk to him personally. Instead, one is confronted with a series of slogans, watchwords, and the like, which have acquired power over him” and that act like the shield a spaceship might deploy to deflect an attack. But which in this case was an attack of the truth and an encounter with God.
There is a solution. This person see’s through a glass darkly when he has as much access as anyone to the Jesus lens. But what is required is not only Jesus, but an intention to follow Him wherever He should lead. The pure in heart see God. The double or triple minded see only what they choose to see.